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The department, in accordance with its present policy of not repairing at large expense vessels of considerable age and at a cost out of proportion to the value of the vessel for military purposes, disapproved the general overhaul of the Vicksburg and has assigned her to duty in the inland waters of Puget Sound in connection with the Naval Militia, thus saving approximately $50,000.
The act of May 13, 1908, authorized the overhaul and reconstruction of the gunboat Bennington at an estimated cost of $195,750.
This work was underway before the department had fully developed its present policy of not repairing at large expense vessels of considerable age and at a cost out of proportion to the value of the vessel for military purposes.
It was found that the new boilers for the Bennington, built to replace those destroyed by explosion, could be used for other purposes. All work was stopped on the Bennington July, 1910, and the vessel was condemned and sold November, 1910.
The new boilers above referred to have just been installed on the Yorktown, and the greater part of the original expenditure was avoided.
D. OVERHAUL OF THE TUG “LOCUST ” (EX“ LINCOLN "). The following is an item peculiarly applicable to the four tugs now under consideration:
Congress authorized the expenditure of $6,000 for the overhaul of the tug Locust. A material inspection and careful consideration of the value of this vessel led to her condemnation and sale without expenditure of the above sum.
E. AMMUNITION TUBE HOISTS FOR TURRETS.
In accordance with the requirements of the service, the Bureau of Ordnance developed a successful type of tube hoist. A demand for this type of hoist,
once it was successfully developed, was made by practically all battleships of the fleet.
Careful investigation and consideration of the present condition of the existing hoists, as installed on certain ships, led the department to defer the installation of the new type tube hoist on a number of ships until such time as the old hoists were impaired.
Thus expenditures on the Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Georgia, and Nebraska for this class of work have been deferred.
F. MAGAZINE REFRIGERATION.
The committee will recall the 1912 instance which the Secretary gave in his hearings, page 792—the case of a saving of $1,250,000 in omitting magazine refrigeration from the older battleships.
The CHAIRMAN. With reference to the action of the Secretary, taken with reference to the recommendation of the aid and the bureau
chiefs, if the bureau chief has recommended one amount and the aid has recommended a different amount, does the Secretary call the two before him and confer with both of them before acting upon the recommendation?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. I think I can say invariably the two appear together.
The CHAIRMAN. Then the Secretary, together with the aid and chief, as I understand it, discuss the two recommendations?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. Yes; that often happens.
Mr. Foss. You practically have to get all of your information through the bureau chiefs !
Capt. WINTERHALTER. Yes. Right at that point I would like to interject that whatever technical knowledge I may have I eliminate entirely from the question under consideration. I may not have very much technical knowledge upon a particular point, but still I eliminate that part of it in order to pass simply upon the question from the standpoint of the Navy; that is, from the military standpoint. The bureau chief is the recognized technical expert.
Mr. Foss. You have had no experience in the repairing of ships, have you?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. Oh, yes; I have had experience of every kind in repairing ships. I have been at two navy yards, and I think I understand all about the details of repairing and handling ships. But that is not in point. The point is that the department has its technical men for all technical purposes, with Congress providing money for technical bureaus competent in giving technical advice. At the beginning of an inquiry into a particular problem I would not inject any technical information or any technical experience that I had. When the thing has come to a focus, finally ready for decision, it is easy enough to summon all the technical information that I ever acquired anywhere to put in on the proposition. But of course the working of any system will depend more or less on the personality of the people connected with it. My way of working the system may not be the way of some one else. "All I am working for now is to make this thing as efficient and economical as possible. That is all I am living for at the present moment.
I do not doubt what the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance tells me; I do not doubt what the Chief of the Bureau of Construction tells me; or the Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering; or the Chief of the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts; or of Yards and Docks. In the first place, I know them very well, and in the second place I have no doubt that their singleness of purpose is just as safe as mine. I seek advice as well as give it. First, I will ask advice and then we will discuss the policy of the department on a particular subject. Next, we get up a rough draft of the letter or indorsement or whatever will finally go for approval to the Secretary. If the thing is in conformity with regulations and the policy of the department, the question next has to be worked out as to whether it will be practical. You have to adapt your rule to what is actually practicable. For instance, if a party of students got together on a proposition they might recommend something that Congress never would grant. Those things have to be straightened out by practical men, leaving out of consideration all but practicable questions. For the aid the military hearing of a question is paramount. To-day there is no need
for justifying the presence of the aids in the department. They are a recognized factor and a success. They save time and money, expediting business and working for economy with efficiency. By personal conferences they decrease correspondence, secure coordination, safeguard the department's policies. Having the naval or military end always in sight, the aids can give the Secretary the best advice from the standpoint of the Navy as a whole, when conflicting interests obscure an issue. The Secretary has said:
The usefulness of the aids in securing economical results and good administration in the Navy Department is beyond question. From my experience, it would be difficult to administer thoroughly the affairs of the Navy Department without their expert advice and counsel.
Mr. Foss. You were at two navy yards, were you?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. I was there 16 months, and 20 months at Portsmouth, N. H. I was equipment and ordnance officer at Portsmouth and recorder of the labor board at Philadelphia. I had an experience also at the Norfolk yard of two years, when the repairs and alterations were made on the Louisiana and on other ships of the Second Division, for which Norfolk was the home port. Mr. ROBERTS. Now, Captain, have you the figures of the original
) cost of the Hannibali
Capt. WINTERHALTER. She was purchased June 7, 1898, for $147,941.
Mr. ROBERTS. And we probably paid for her all she was worth?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. I was a little surprised at the figures being so low.
The CHAIRMAN. It was reported in the press at the time that the Government was paying exorbitant prices for the boats, because they were buying under war conditions, under the impulse of war fever.
Mr. ROBERTS. You do not know how old the Hannibal and the Leonidas were when they were bought?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. No, sir. It would take a little research work to find that out, because it is not given in the ships' data. Upon investigation I find that they were completed in 1898; they were new ships when bought.
The CHAIRMAN. Were those statements about exorbitant' prices correct?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. They would not be substantiated by the fig. ures I have given this morning. There may have been other instances in which too much was paid, and we always incur the danger of paying exorbitant prices at the outbreak of war for auxiliaries that we should have provided in time of peace. Besides, even at the highest price we can not then find on the market vessels meeting our requirements as fully as those constructed according to well-established characteristics.
Mr. ROBERTS. What was the cost of the Justin?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. $97,728. She was bought just before Ad. miral Dewey went into Manila Bay.
Mr. ROBERTS. $98,000, practically.
Capt. WINTERHALTER. No; that $97,728 is in error; it should be $155,728, which was the purchase price.
The CHAIRMAN. Are there any other questions?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. You have not touched on the subject of submarines.
The CHAIRMAN. I had asked the general question that you put in your hearings the information with reference to the matters enumerated in this letter of the Secretary.
Capt. WINTERHALTER. I would like to cover them all. As it is, I have covered the two battleships.
Mr. Foss. Right there, about those submarines, I would like to know whether the repairs on submarines were proportionately greater than on the other ships?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. They are rather larger on the submarines than on the other ships.
Mr. Foss. Why is that?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. The submarine is rather a delicate proposition all the way through.
Mr. ROBERTS. Chiefly in the batteries, isn't it?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. Yes; there will be anywhere from $32,000 to $40,000 for the renewal of batteries. If we have to take the batteries out and put in new batteries the cost will be $40,000 each. There are eight of them, which makes $320,000. By using the rubber jars of the old batteries this may be reduced to $32,000 for the cost of each battery. We have two of the smaller boats to be renewed which will cost about $15,000 each.
Mr. Foss. How often do you have to recharge the batteries?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. I think they are doing absolutely everything they can to keep up the progress, between the manufacturers and the Bureau of Steam Engineering, but as will be seen by a comparison of the submerged speeds of submarines of the C class, the first vessel of which was tried in 1907, and the characteristics of the eight submarines authorized in the act of August 22, 1912, there has not been much progress made in producing storage batteries which will result in an increase of the speed of submarines. The C class of submarines, for instance, made 9 knots an hour for one hour, or 8 knots for three hours. The D class of the same year made 94 knots for one hour and 8 knots for three hours. The submarines authorized six years later are contracted to make 8} knots for three hours and 101 knots for one hour. There has been an advance made in the knowledge, among the electricians of the Navy and the officers in charge of the boats, of care and preservation of the batteries. For instance, last year practically all the boats in service were making their contract speeds in competitions for the efficiency trophy. The cost of upkeep, however, becomes very high after three years' service, as numerous plates must be replaced and the battery overhauled annually.
During the past year the battery material bought for this purpose amounted to about $20,000. The storage battery engineering done by the electricians of the Navy is up to the highest standard. and the manufacturers have complimented the officials of the bureau upon the knowledge and skill displayed by the crews of the submarines on this class of work. The department during the past year
has put the submarines on a competitive basis in the matter of caring for their storage batteries, and each year the boats run trials similar to those made on their trial trips, so that the pride of commanding officers and crews are appealed to in these campetitions. The results of these competitions are published and the comments of the various officers concerned on the care and upkeep of the batteries is printed in an annual publication for distribution in the fleet. There is no doubt that the personnel of the Navy have a very high understanding of the methods to be pursued in obtaining the best results from storage batteries. The CHAIRMAN. What is the life of a battery?
Capt. WINTERHALTER. The C class of submaries went into commission the latter part of 1909 and first of 1910; the D class in the latter part of 1909 and 1910. It is for these boats that new batteries are required next year. From this I should say that the life is four and one-half years; but it should be understood that this life is obtained by comparatively large expenditures for overhaul during the last two years.
Mr. ROBERTS. Are they all submarines?
Mr. ROBERTS. Will you put in a statement as to the amount of repairs on submarines, all repairs of submarines, up to date? . I am surprised to know that they are so much greater than they are on an ordinary ship.
Capt. WINTERHALTER. These tables will, I believe, give you the data requested for all submarines, including the eight boats as well as the other vessels for which authority is requested to exceed the statutory limit of costs.